That's a conversation that Mom and I had this past weekend specifically related to hand made items. Why are we suddenly talking about this?
It's because of this.
This is what's left of a pillow cover that my Grandmother, Lura Dove, embroidered around 1930. When Grandma had to go (unwillingly) into assisted living Mom took the pillow cover and framed it for her room. After Grandma died my Aunt had it for a while and then gave it to me. It's been hanging in my sewing room until a week ago.
When it fell off the wall and the frame shattered. Usually in this case I run right off to my favorite frame shop and spend a small fortune to have it re-framed.
When Mom framed this she wasn't loaded with a ton of extra cash and she was dealing with the stress of convincing her Mother that assisted living really was the right answer for someone prone to falling. So she did what most of us did 25 years ago, she used one of those mats with the stick edge. I started peeling the back edge of the piece (the front is not stuck) and realized that this fabric is incredibly fragile. It also has some pretty strong age staining.
So, what to do? For me the answer was to call Mom for a consultation.
Chris and I re-drafted our wills last year so I've been think a lot about what we leave behind. The result of my pondering is that we are leaving a pretty heavy burden of stuff on the next generation. That's especially true in my case where 2 kid will get stuff from their parents, from me and from Mom. Frankly, that's a lot of crap. Written into our special bequest lists of our wills is a comment that I added to tell the recipients of my stuff that they are under no obligation to take anything or to feel they must take special care of anything. They can refuse it, sell it, give it to someone else or keep it. It doesn't matter to me. I will not be there to pass judgement.
So Mom and I discussed it and agreed that this piece has served it's purpose in life. It made Grandma Dove happy to make it and enjoy it during her long life. I enjoyed seeing it while it was hanging on the wall but it's OK to let it go and that's what I'm going to do.
Not to worry, I still have some treasures from Grandma Dove like this dresser scarf.
This is my favorite piece. I had 2 of these bed covers. I know I gave the other one to someone in the family but don't remember. I kept this one and think I may quilt it some day.
In the first house that Chris and I owned I used this on top of the guest bed bedspread and my Grandma got to see it there once.
Oh my gosh, my next sentence was supposed to be "So I'm OK letting the pillow cover go." but just as I was typing I realized exactly what I will do with it. I'll be back in a week or so to show you.
7/19/2017 10:35:54 am
The embroideries are beautiful.
7/19/2017 10:56:41 am
I only have one son and he will get all my crap. I keep trying to downsize, but I need to do a better job. I have a friend whose significant other has a huge pick up truck and I told her I would take them out to dinner if they would haul a load to the Habitat Resale shop for me. I need to do some serious house cleaning after I get the photo done for my R.E.M. piece and I will be filling boxes for the resale shop.
7/19/2017 12:43:20 pm
Many years ago I used to do crewel work. I no longer hang the smaller pieces on the wall. I have had a lot of fun "repurposing" them in quilted forms that are useful. After trimming them down I make zip bags, journal covers, needle books etc....anything that can be used or gifted. I am loving this and I get to enjoy them one more useful time. One cross stitch even became the center of my favorite winter quilt. I am looking forward to what you will do with yours.
Looking forward to seeing your idea for the pillow cover. Antique linens are precious. As for us, we don't have kids, so no one to leave it all to. I plan to downsize significantly in about 10 more years. I hope I am healthy well into old age, but you never know do you?
Tina in NJ
7/19/2017 02:26:46 pm
Tease. Now I'll be waiting to see what you do with the embroidery. (I don't see it in the mosaic!) My parents, especially my mom, loved to go to antique shops. Clearing out their house is going to be a nightmare, especially since my brother has adopted a minimalist attitude. Fortunately, very few of their stuff is old family heirlooms.
7/19/2017 05:42:21 pm
Count me among your readers awaiting your next post on these heirloom linens. I have a card-tablecloth with baskets similar to those on your bedspread, embroidered by my mother-in-law probably back in the 1950's-1960's. There are four baskets (one in each corner) and four great-grandchildren.... I picked the best out of several boxes of stuff.
We do tend to hold onto things don't we? I have told my two boys (and their wives) that once I'm gone they are to take what they want and let my friends have dibs on the rest. What's left they can do whatever suits them. For tht reason I tend to give away what I've created as I finish it - that way it's not left for them to deal with. I spent weeks last year going through old family photos and weaning them down - most of them I passed along to family members that would perhaps appreciate having them (and if they didn't and chucked them, who cares). I scanned what I wanted and uploaded them to the family tree and then 'shared' the rest.
7/19/2017 08:49:14 pm
My throat got a catch in it when you said you were going to get rid of that fragment. Then I breathed a sigh of relief when you said you got an idea. Handmade items are the hardest to just get rid of because they are the creative work from a beloved person. I don't have any handmade things from my family. My husband's mother made us a string quilt (polyesters) that she hand sewed. I can't part with it even though it is in tatters. Books and furniture I can pass on.
7/19/2017 09:53:43 pm
I would have a hard time letting it go.
7/20/2017 07:51:53 am
I saw a lovely quilt on the Internet once and when they turned it over, there was a vintage tablecloth smack dab in the middle of the backing. They had to add more fabric on the sides, but it was just lovely. So that what I have planned for some of my vintage cloths. My family didn't do needlework at all, we were all city dwellers and no crafting. I would definitely keep that embroidery work of your grandma's, just my opinion.
7/20/2017 10:42:26 am
Getting rid of things from family members who have passed is something I struggle with. As time goes by I am able to let more go, but I still have way too much stuff. I realize that the person will always be in my memory whether I keep their things or not, but sometimes it's still hard. These things represent not just the person but their experiences, and I like having that connection with the past. I am working on it, and I do find that there are things I can get rid of now that I couldn't let go of five years ago. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the embroidered piece.
7/21/2017 10:35:06 am
You need to calm down in your sewing room and stop all this wild dancing to head-banger music so things don't fall off the wall and cause dilemmas.
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I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.